Manage a Tenancy : Week ending: 2019-12-06

Weeknotes are a way for us to keep people informed about progress on the project. Given the technical nature of the re-platforming work we will use them to explain technical choices that we are making, including the benefit and impact of these choices. 

Project goals

  • Enable housing officers to use MaT offline when there is poor mobile coverage
  • Enable Hackney to decommission Outsystems, saving £80,000 per year
  • Enable Hackney to support, develop and deploy future improvements to MaT more quickly, at lower cost

Sprint goals:

The goals for Sprint 3 are to:

  1. Have the cloud infrastructure in place to deploy the front end and the API layer
  2. Complete the front end for ID & Residency Check and Review & Submit steps in the Tenancy and Household Check process (in React)
  3. Be able to start testing the rebuilt service with HackIT team, working from live infrastructure
  4. Have an updated pipeline so that we can deploy code
  5. Fully understand what is required to rebuild the remaining two processes (Home Check and ITV)
  6. Have a clear handover plan between dxw and HackIT (including named individuals and timeline)

Good things

We have built the Terraform cloud infrastructure. Mirela and Liudvikas have done a great job setting this up (with the help of Matt Keyworth); the final step is to test backend deployments and then we will have completed this sprint goal. There’s still some work to do to make it reusable across Hackney, which we may have time to look at in a future sprint. 

We have mapped out the journey for when housing officers are unable to enter a property. This is an addition to Tenancy and Household Check, and we are now testing this with Housing Officers.  

We had a great show and tell. We ran a show and tell (video here) with the Housing team on Tuesday, and we had great attendance and good feedback from people. We were able to demonstrate how easy it is to assemble or modify processes, once the React components have been built. 

Learned things

Collecting diversity information. There was a step in the original Tenancy and Household Check process to collect diversity information from residents, but this had been removed before the service went live. We may want to reinstate this step provided we can do so in a way that makes it clear to residents that their responses are anonymous.  

The front end handover. This has been helped by Emma being able to set aside time in early January to get to grips with how to build a process using the React components we’ve been building. However we’re still not clear how the underlying code libraries (including the task of building React components) will be handed over, and who to – the team are putting together some options to address this. 

Understanding the best ways for HackIT to use Terraform. Terraform is a DevOps product for managing digital infrastructure in the cloud. As part of Manage a Tenancy we’ve been building our knowledge of this product to understand who we can best use it as part of our CI/CD pipeline. We’ve been learning from and sharing knowledge with other technical folks in HackIT and also several of vendor partners. We’ve gained a lot of confidence and are happy that we’ll be able to gain the benefits of this not just for MaT but for many of other new services in the future.

Difficulties

We experienced an issue with the live service this week. A configuration in AWS was wrongly changed which impacted multiple services. Mirela was able to investigate and address this quickly, but this prevented some of the work we wanted to do on Thursday. The Terraform infrastructure that we have set up should prevent issues like this from occurring in future, once the hub is replatformed. That Terraform work might eventually be applicable to other projects in Hackney, making their infrastructure more resilient.

Building components in React is still time consuming. The decision we took last week to simplify this task has had a positive impact, but it remains the most challenging aspect of the front end work, and continues to slow our progress on rebuilding processes. We’re still exploring how we share the load with other teams working with React at Hackney.

We have a few blockers. There are a handful of activities in our backlog which have morphed from being low-priority to being blockers. These include finalising the privacy impact assessment, defining acceptance criteria for Tenancy and Household Check and finalising the HackIT approach for end-to-end testing. We discussed these as a team and have a plan for removing these blockers.  

Acknowledgements

We had a smaller team this week than we normally do. Thanks to everyone who worked on the project this week – Chris, David, F, Gill, Mirela, Richard and Tuomo.  

What’s next

Next week we will:

  • Running our third show and tell, which will take place in Stamford Hill on Tuesday 10th December at 3pm
  • Continue building Tenancy and Household Check – we’ll be focusing on the ID & Residency and Review & Submit steps, along with the start and end pages for offline syncing.
  • Scope out in more detail what is required for Homecheck and Initial/Introductory Tenancy Visit
  • Test the pipeline set up to automatically deploy code

The following people will be working on the project:

  • Bukky
  • Chris
  • David 
  • Gill
  • Liudvikas
  • Lorraine
  • Mirela 
  • Richard
  • Tuomo

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